Court Reporter – Have a GED? You Make Six Figures Without a College Degree

Many Americans are overloaded with student debt. They often are questioning the value of having a college degree. Consider the alternative that’s described in this post, and study for a top-paying profession that’s crying out for employees and comes with relatively little costs.

If you don’t have a high school diploma but you are willing to learn and get the GED diploma, and then learn shorthand code and get familiar with court reporting job, you could have a really good future.

Getting a GED might seem challenging but it’s not that complicated. There are many (free) resources. Read more about online practice for the GED from BGC website here, they have the largest collection of GED practice tests and GED video lessons. Just bookmark their page and you can be prepared for the GED within 4 weeks.

Okay, let’s talk about being a Court Reporter. There are ‘stenographic court reporters’ and ‘voice-writing court reporters’ and these specialists are highly skilled people that often usually work in courtrooms and are the persons who produce court reports. They may also be employed at deposition suites that are found across America or at some places.

Court reporters (especially steno writers) need some four years of education and a lot of training-on-the-job. They require certification and there are three bodies in the US that are responsible for that, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA), and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). There are states that use their own certification system, but by and large, certification is granted by these three bodies.

The president of the NCRA (the National Court Reporters Association) recently expressed his concerns that there will be a demand, or rather a need, for more than 5,000 new court reporter positions over the next 3 to 5 years. Many current reporters are retiring, and the tedium of the profession is so hard that the drop-out rate of (stenographic) court reporters is rather high.

Court Reporting Is Expanding

There are many new court reporting job openings and also a lot of new reporting jobs are found outside our courtrooms, at depositions suites or for closed captioning, and there are also new federal initiatives to offer captioning services positions to hearing-impaired qualified students.

The financial compensation for this kind of jobs may range from $35 per hour up into a six-figure income per year. One recent opening for the position of court reporter in Los Angeles started above $100,000, not even including other benefits!

A San Francisco teacher, Manuela Ortiz, told us that at her school there are currently 75 students enrolled in the school’s court reporting program, and this number is only expected to increase, and a lot of students are also signed up for the school’s online court reporting program! In one class, Ortiz, together with two other instructors, re-enacted court testimony.

They were speaking at various speeds, forcing the students in both the classroom and online to learn to type away faster. Ortiz also said that students can complete their training in perhaps two years if they’re committed and meet all prerequisites.

To become certified in America, court reporters must have the ability to type at least 225 words a minute even when two voices speak simultaneously, and when four voices speak, they are required to produce at least 200 words a minute.

Ortiz’ students are coming from all sorts of backgrounds: GED or high school graduates, college grads who are unhappy with their current job, or for who the professional prospects are weak, but also people who are looking to start all over again.

Are you wondering if this professional track may be something for you? Well, you’re welcome to check it out. Court reporting could be your optimal career choice if you possess these qualities:

– Your English spelling, punctuation, and grammar must be above average
– You are highly self-motivated, and dedicated to continuing on a task without quitting
– You must have excellent listening skills
– Working under pressure and meeting deadlines cause you no problems
– You must have the ability to concentrate on your work for long hours
– You must be willing to continually learn computer and software updates
– You are committed to continuing education

Court Reporters’ Career Path Choices – There are various options for Court Reporters:

Freelance Court Reporters
These professionals may perform several tasks, including court hearings, arbitrations, depositions, township hearings, or other meetings that require verbatim transcripts. Freelance Court Reporters have usually very varying schedules and their job assignments include different locations that may vary from every single day.

Official Court Reporters
An official Court Reporter is generally working at one courthouse, or maybe two. They usually have set working schedules and sometimes are required to work overtime, and they often are working with the same judges. They are employed by the government, be it federal, state, county, or city. In general, official Court Reporters have other benefits such health insurance and paid vacation leave.

CART Providers
CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) are attending meetings, schools, hearings, or whatever place where a hearing-impaired person may require assistance.  They sit together with the client and are sharing their computer screen with the hard of hearing person so they will be able to read the words at the same time they are spoken.

Captioners
Captioners are producing captions for television. Captions are messages that are scrolling along either the top or bottom of TV programs. Captioners may also be required to assist (a group of ) hard of hearing people at for example graduations or other meetings.

Internet Information Reporters or Webcasters
These professional reporters are capturing press conferences, sales meetings, technical training seminars, or product introductions, and make sure that the spoken words are instantly transmitted over the Internet.